Staff Member Profiles

Jo Podoliak

Chief Executive

Jo was appointed her role as Chief Executive of Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland in July 2015. Jo brings extensive experience from both the public and private sector from within the state and nationally along with significant leadership skills and strong commercial acumen.

Jo’s previous experience in a range of Board and Executive roles including for the South Australian Tourism Commission and Coca-Cola Amatil, gives her extensive knowledge and understanding which will be an invaluable asset to the Murraylands and Riverland regions. Jo is eager to work with the businesses, stakeholders, team members and the Board to capitalise on the countless opportunities that exist in continuing the positive growth of our diverse region.

email: jpodoliak(at)rdamr.com.au  

Marc Shannon

Regional Development Manager
Logistics and Infrastructure (Murraylands)

Starting with the RDA Murraylands in March 2016, Marc comes to the organisation with a wealth of experience to apply to his role in business development.

With a diverse work history including electrical, hospitality and management, Marc also has a Bachelor in Management Marketing. More recently, Marc has specialised in working with start-ups, and health sciences business development, in addition to community engagement.

Marc has worked across a wide range of industries, developing projects for research, infrastructure, education, employment and economic development.  New to the region, Marc is excited to be working with RDAMR and looks forward to assisting bring about sustainable initiatives that deliver positive and transformative change.

email: mshannon(at)rdamr.com.au 

Vanessa Liebelt

Regional Development Manager
Innovation and Growth (Murraylands)

Vanessa joined the RDA team in April 2016 and has now taken on the position of Regional Development Manager for Innovation and Growth and is based in our Murray Bridge office. Vanessa comes from a family business background operating her own small business with her husband for 10 years, contracting to a number of businesses and Indigenous organisations, assisting with strategic planning and implementation, business development and skills training.

With a Diploma in International Business and International Trade, Vanessa has previously lived in rural SA and worked overseas in a number of consulting roles. 

Vanessa is excited about her role with RDAMR to be able to provide business and industries sound and practical assistance to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities this region has.

email: vliebelt(at)rdamr.com.au 

Bruce Mellett

Regional Development Manager 
Capability (Riverland)

Bruce started with RDAMR in October 2016 as Regional Development Manager – Capability. Bruce brings more than 30 years of media and leadership experience, having previously been the long serving Regional Manager with the ABC in the Riverland and before that stints in newspapers, commercial  radio and TV. 

Bruce has extensive community involvement within the Riverland and Mallee region and is currently an Australia Day Ambassador for South Australia. He has won national awards for innovation and mentoring, SA awards for community involvement and has long associations with schools, service and sporting clubs in the region.

Bruce is excited about his role at RDA and working closely with the Riverland community to bring about positive long term benefits. He and his family enjoy the region’s lifestyle, own a small vineyard and love all the Riverland has to offer.

Donna Beech

Marketing and Communication Manager (Riverland)

Donna joined the RDA in October 2015 to assist with the research, planning and implementation of various projects and initiatives.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Marketing, Donna has previously worked in a range of diverse marketing and communications roles in a number of industries, including electrical, communications, retail and wine. Her diverse background ensures she has a range of knowledge and skills able to assist the RDA to achieve their goals. 

Having returned to the Riverland after 16 years in Adelaide, Donna loves the lifestyle and opportunities now available in the region. 

email: dbeech(at)rdamr.com.au

Julie Bates

Tourism Development Manager
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong (Murraylands)

Julie commenced with the RDA in May 2016 and is responsible for the overall growth of tourism in the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong region, including marketing, destination development and strategic direction for the tourism industry.

Julie’s previous experience in Management roles has included the South Australian Tourism Commission, School & Beyond, Majestic Apartments and Bridge Aluminium.  Julie’s experience includes not only tourism, but community engagement, a strong business background and local government understanding.  

Julie is passionate about the tourism industry and is excited to be back working to grow the industry and representing the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong region to the world.

Living locally at Monarto, Julie and her family enjoy the Murraylands lifestyle and are actively involved in the community.

Email: jbates(at)rdamr.com.au

Sheryl Caston

Executive Assistant to the CEO (Murraylands)

Sheryl commenced in July 2016 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. With a passion for the environment, biodiversity and businesses involved in farming and production, Sheryl is keen to support RDAMR build business growth and sustainability in the region. She is also keen to see further training and career development opportunities for the next generation to continue on a productive employment pathway.

A dedicated professional, Sheryl enjoys helping people achieve their goals. With extensive experience in Administration, having worked for many years both in private industry and local government roles, her aim is to build strong relationships with the RDAMR Board, staff and collaborators in the region.

Having grown-up in the Adelaide Hills, Sheryl has fond memories of a childhood filled with many visits to the Murraylands and Riverland for fishing and camping with her family. 

Kathy Stringer

Finance & Business Support (Murraylands)

Kathy commenced with the RDA in September 2015 in the role of Finance and Business support, and brings with her over 30 years of combined experience in administration roles, 20 of those within the farming and agribusiness sector.

Kathy is excited to be a part of the RDA team to utilise her broad knowledge of book-keeping, whilst contributing to the efficiencies of the finance department.

Having lived in Murray Bridge all of her life, Kathy has a keen interest and passion for the local community and looks forward to working with RDA to build a better and brighter future.

email: kstringer(at)rdamr.com.au

Alyce Worsfold

Administrative Officer (Riverland)

Alyce joined the RDA team as a receptionist in January 2014.

Alyce was raised on the family cereal cropping and live-stock farm on the outskirts of Loxton. Her back ground in the family business has provided her with a great respect for the Riverland's beauty and diversity. Alyce is passionate about the region and sees a bright future for the Riverland.

Alyce is currently studying at University to become a Paramedic. Until she is qualified, Alyce is utilising her organisation, communication and people skills to be the first point of contact for our Riverland office.

Alyce's knowledge of the region will be a great addition to our team along with her friendly personality.

email: aworsfold(at)rdamr.com.au 

Sonia Hein

Trainee Administration (Murraylands)

Sonia joined RDAMR in November 2016 in the role of Business Support for the Murraylands Office. Having originally gained her grounding in business with a 12 month traineeship with RDAMR in 2012, Sonia left to seek further education opportunities and has returned to us 5 years later having achieved a Certificate 3 in Business, a Diploma in Animal Technology and an Undergraduate Introduction to Marketing.

Whilst studying Sonia worked locally gaining further administration, IT and finance skills and implementing various projects throughout the region; including the 2015/16 Murraylands Careers Expo.

Having lived locally in Murray Bridge her entire life, Sonia believes her passion and knowledge of the region are key to being part of the RDAMR team where she aims to assist in the region’s development and prosperity.

Sue Whitbourne

Anne Payne

Employment & Training Project Manager (Riverland)

Sue commenced as the Project Manager for Employment and Training in September 2015, after joining the team at RDA in a support role earlier in the year.

Sue brings an extensive background in project, event, business and people management to the business and has experience in a variety of industries, particularly tourism, sales and finance.      

She believes that her local knowledge and community involvement within the region will enable her to continue to drive the employment and training projects and continue to grow key relationships with industry, local small and medium enterprises and service provider within the region.

Sue and her family enjoy the diverse and relaxed lifestyle the Riverland has to offer and have a deep involvement in the local community through their extensive sporting involvement.

Christine Willersdorf

Employment and Training Project Manager (Murraylands)

Christine started with RDA Murraylands in the role of Project Manager for Employment Education and Training in July 2015, bringing with her many years of industry experience and a passion for the development of employment and training services in the Murraylands region.

With a strong business background, Christine is committed to connecting employers with the unemployed or under employed people in the region, whilst providing opportunities for individuals to be provided with advice, information and training. A key part of this is supporting industry through networking and evaluating core needs to develop programs and strategies to match their needs.

Reasons why Christine is so passionate about the Murraylands region include its amazing climate and lifestyle, and its proximity to metropolitan Adelaide. As a member of the local Rotary Club, Christine enjoys working closely with the youth and unemployed in the region which she has been connected with for the last 8 years.

email: cwillersdorf(at)rdamr.com.au

Annette Thiel

Career Development Centre (Riverland)

Annette is a qualified Career Practitioner and has undertaken Certificate IV in both Career Development and Project Management. 

Annette’s role at the Career Development Centre (CDC) – Riverland is that of Project Support.  The CDC is a Skills for Jobs in Regions project that commenced operation out of the Berri office in September 2010. Annette is responsible for administration within the centre, including file and data management and the smooth functioning of the centre. With an understanding of local industry, local employment services and local training providers, Annette successfully links clients with the appropriate services suitable to their requirements.

Annette has been employed at RDA since 2004, being here during the amalgamation of the Murraylands Regional Development Board and the Riverland Development Corporation (RDC) and had been with the RDC.

email: athiel(at)rdamr.com.au 

Rachel Thiele

Career Development Practitioner (Riverland)

Rachel is a qualified Career Development Practioner and has undertaken a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Career Development Practice, Certificate IV in Career Development, Front Line Management and Training & Assessment.

Rachel grew up on a Farm just outside of Loxton and believes in the importance of working with the local community to develop areas of need in both Employment and Training. Rachel is familiar with the Riverland Regions training trends and one of her key focuses is advocating for clients in order to have their skills formally recognised through either Recognised Prior Learning process or other training forms. Rachel works with clients to help display their transferable skills that can be utilised in other areas; in turn creating new pathways for individuals and direction to those who may not have thought this was achievable.

Rachel enjoys working with clients to develop personal tailored resumes, covering letters and Career pathway Plans. Rachel recognizes that each client is different and will have different needs to be catered for.

Rachel assists people in gaining knowledge, skills and behaviours to manage learning and work throughout a productive and engaging working life.

email: rthiele(at)rdamr.com.au 

Cathy Clemow

Career Development Practitioner (Murraylands)

Cathy is a qualified Career Development Practitioner having undertaken a Certificate IV in Language Literacy and Numeracy, Training and Assessment and Career Development

Having chosen to re-enter the workforce in the late ’90’s, Cathy had a passion for education and having up-skilled, she moved quickly into the school sector. Positions included promotion and marketing, fundraising and development and Vocational Education and Training (VET). Starting in the Barossa region, Cathy then moved to Alice Springs, where she co-ordinated the VET Youth2Work programme working with five schools in the region, before taking on the position of Regional Industry Career Advisor, covering a huge region from the SA/NT border up to Katherine. Having returned to Mannum and gained additional skills, Cathy started with the CDC in the Murraylands office in December 2015.

Cathy has never moved very far from an industry that tries to encourage and motivate people to reach their potential.  With a love for the River and all that the Region has to offer, Cathy looks forward to working with dedicated RDA members that are focused on helping this wonder region reach its potential.

email: cclemow(at)rdamr.com.au

Shaun Harris

CDC Adviser/Project Support

Commencing in August 2016, Shaun is the Project Support for Employment and Training and Career Adviser for the Career Development Centre in the Murraylands. 

Having lived in the Torrens Valley area for over 23 years with his wife and three children, Shaun is actively involved in the community and shares a passion for the Murraylands region.

Starting his career as an apprentice in the printing industry and working his way into management, Shaun also has experience in business, starting his own successful café and catering business. Having completed a Bachelor of Social Work, he has been fortunate to work with Aboriginal Communities on the APY lands for the SANFL

Shaun is excited about the opportunity to foster community development and be involved in initiatives that will provide positive results for community members and the region.